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Deal 1189: The next big con

The telephone has revolutionized the art of the big con. Once upon a time, a con man had to travel from place to place, then spend time to establish their identity and gain the confidence of some key figures in a community. All as the precursor to even beginning to think about starting a long con. It meant that a true long con really did take a long time to execute.

The telephone changed all that.

Suddenly it was possible to visit people in their homes or offices, almost without their even knowing they had invited you in.

Since a large part of the early effort is spent just to establish the trust needed to be invited in, the long con got significantly easier to play.

Of course, you still need to have a mark, a tale, and a payoff. And you probably can’t play it all solo.

But if you can master the art of sounding sincere on the phone, you can play the game without leaving your home.

You can even play more than one mark at a time, taking turns to advance each tale.

How could it ever get easier?

Then I got the letter.

“Dear most noble sir,” it began, “Greetings from the rightful heirs of the minister for imaginary trade outside of my country, who died unexpectedly in a most tragic and horrific fashion, with a sum of not less than ten million US dollars on deposit in an imaginary bank in your country. Which I know I can count on your help to return to its rightful owners. Accepting a generous fee for your services, naturally….”

I wonder what strange and wonderful technology will come next that advance the art of the con?

I can barely wait.

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Deal 1136: Wings by night

Approach the ritual in the right frame of mind or not at all. I was warned. I probably should have listened.

Candles set the atmosphere, along with interesting art on the walls and beads hanging everywhere. Once inside, it seemed as if I had been transported somewhere very different from my mundane world. The altar with a fetish and mask may have been a clue about what was to come, but I had no idea. Then she stepped into the room.

Long hair in dreads, more beads than ought to be possible, layers of clothing that moved almost as if they had a mind of their own. There was no mistaking that this was her domain. Even if the motifs of the altar and art weren’t repeated in both her clothing and her tattoos, it would be clear. She asked me no questions, and I offered no information. Perhaps in a different world I would have and things would be different. She gestured to the pile of pillows and bade me be comfortable. I did.

From that point, things get a little hazy.

At first, literally hazy from the incense set alight around the room, then from the smoke of the herbs set alight in a bowl. Even if I hadn’t held the bowl up and inhaled deeply, I would have been affected. Should I have asked what was in the bowl?

In the moment, that seemed a rude thing to do, and I refrained. But then, if I had been the least bit prudent, I wouldn’t have been seeking out practitioners of the mystical arts, and letting them practice upon me unquestioned. No, prudence was far from my mind that night.

And that was about the last thing my conscious mind can recall.

My next memory begins a few moments ago, when I opened my eyes to find myself miles above the landscape, watching the twinkling lights as if they were constellations that are approaching. Approaching while the wind picks up, whistling past my body in a way that makes no sense at all if I am laying in a field watching the stars go by. Because I’m not, after all. I’m falling, constantly falling, towards a landscape of twinkling stars, but never reaching the ground, the wind buoying me up as it whistles over my wings, tickling each feather individually, caressing me as it carries me away.

Wings?

What have I done?